I encourage each pastor to pray and consider reaching out to your local police department to see if there are programs like this already in place for you to join. If not, maybe God is calling you to start a program to be salt and light and point the police and your community to the only One Who can bring justice and salvation to a broken, sinful, and divided world: The Prince of Peace—The LORD Jesus Christ—Who died on that cross for sinners and rose again from the dead to accomplish justice and mercy for all who would turn from their sins and trust in Him!
It is always tragic to hear of a police shooting or an unjust use of force by police officers. Anytime anyone in a position of authority abuses that authority, it is especially abhorrent in God’s sight, because God ordained authorities like the police to punish wrongdoers and reward those who do good:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. (Romans 13:1-5)
What can a pastor, elder, or Christian leader do—besides continue to faithfully pastor and proclaim the law and the Gospel—to encourage and help police officers do their jobs faithfully in the fear of the LORD? One option you might consider is volunteering as a police chaplain.
Being a police chaplain in your neighborhood may be one of the best ways to fight for justice with regard to police brutality, share the Gospel with police, pray for justice with them, and remind them that we are all image bearers of God, worthy of honor, respect, value, and dignity.
Here are ten reasons being a police chaplain is helpful:
1. You get to know the police officers personally and build friendships with them. You do “ride alongs” with them, and you have the opportunity to pick their brains about their job and the community in which you pastor and they serve.
2. Through these relationships you can both share the Gospel and influence them for righteousness and justice in their jobs. There are numerous opportunities to talk with them, give them Bibles, and share other Biblical and Gospel-centered material with them that will help them police in such a way that honors the LORD and love their neighbor. I’ve had the opportunity to share excellent resources like these with police officers in our district:
3. You have the opportunity to pray for and with the officers regularly – that they would do their job righteously, do justice, love mercy, have wisdom in all situations, fear God, treat everyone with honor and respect, and also pray for their safety and protection.